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ENHANCED OIL RECOVERY

Methods to Improve Reservoir


Recovery Efficiency

Discovery
Conventional
Oil
Natural
Recovery
Artificial
Flow Lift

Methods to
Improve
Recovery
Efficiency

Waterflooding & Strategic Wellbore Production /


Enhanced Oil Recovery Placement Injection Control
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)

Waterflood Thermal Chemical Miscible Gas

Maintains reservoir Reduces Sorw by steam Reduces Sorw by Reduces Sorw by


pressure & physically distillation and reduces lowering water-oil developing miscibility
displaces oil with oil viscosity. interfacial tension, and with the oil through a
water moving through increases volumetric vaporizing or condensing
the reservoir from sweep efficiency by gas drive process.
injector to producer. reducing the water-oil
mobility ratio.
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)

Goal of EOR processes is to mobilize “remaining” oil

Achieved by enhancing oil displacement &


volumetric sweep efficiencies
- Oil displacement efficiency is improved by reducing oil
viscosity (e.g., thermal floods) or by reducing capillary
forces or interfacial tension (e.g., miscible floods)
- Volumetric sweep efficiency is improved by developing
more favorable mobility ratio between injectant &
remaining oil-in-place (e.g., polymer floods, WAG
processes)
Important to identify remaining oil & mechanisms
necessary to improve recovery before implementing
EOR
Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)

“Most EOR screening values are approximations


based on successful North American projects. These
are not intended to be firm cut-offs, but rather
approximate practical limitations. They do not take
into account new technology or varying economic
situations.”
Dr. Bruce Davis
Waterflooding

Injection Water Separation and Production Well


Well Injection Storage Facilities
Pump

2 1

1 Oil Zone 2 Injection Water


Waterflooding
Description
Most widely used post-primary recovery method
Water injected in patterns or along the periphery
Mechanisms That Improve Recovery Efficiency
Water drive
Limitations
High oil viscosities - higher mobility ratios
Heterogeneity such as stratification, permeability
contrast, and fracturing can reduce sweep
efficiency
Challenges
Poor compatibility between injected water &
reservoir may cause formation damage
Subsurface fluid control to divert injected water &
shut off undesirable produced fluids
Waterflooding

Screening Parameters
Gravity > 25° API
Viscosity < 30 cp
Composition not critical
Oil saturation > 10% mobile oil
Formation type sandstone / carbonate
Net thickness not critical
Average permeability not critical (usually >10md)
Transmissibility not critical
Depth not critical
Temperature not critical
Surfactant/Polymer Flooding
Surfactant Injection Water Separation and Production Well
Solution From Well Injection Storage Facilities
Mixing Plant Pump

4 3 2 1

1 Oil Zone Surfactant Polymer Drive Water


2 3 4
Solution
Surfactant/Polymer Flooding
Description
Consists of injecting a slug containing water,
surfactant, electrolyte (salt), usually a co-solvent
(alcohol), & possibly a hydrocarbon (oil), followed
by polymer-thickened water

Mechanisms That Improve Recovery Efficiency


Interfacial tension reduction (improves
displacement sweep efficiency)
Mobility control (improves volumetric sweep
efficiency)
Surfactant/Polymer Flooding
Limitations
 Areal sweep more than 50% for waterflood is desired
 Relatively homogeneous formation
 High amounts of anhydrite, gypsum, or clays are undesirable
 Available systems provide optimum behavior within narrow set of
conditions
 With commercially available surfactants, formation water chlorides
should be < 20,000 ppm & divalent ions (Ca ++ & Mg++) < 500 ppm
Challenges
 Complex & expensive
 Possibility of chromatographic separation of chemicals
 High adsorption of surfactant
 Interactions between surfactant & polymer
 Degradation of chemicals at high temperature
Surfactant/Polymer Flooding
Screening Parameters
Gravity > 25° API
Viscosity < 20 cp
Composition light intermediates
Oil saturation > 20% PV
Formation type sandstone
Net thickness > 10 feet
Average permeability > 20 md
Transmissibility not critical
Depth < 8,000 feet
Temperature <  225 ° F
Salinity of formation brine < 150,000 ppm TDS
Polymer Flooding

Polymer Injection Water Separation and Production


Solution From Well Injection Storage Facilities Well
Mixing Plant Pump

3 2 1

1 Oil Zone 2 Polymer Solution 3 Drive Water


Polymer Flooding
Description
 Consists of adding water soluble polymers to water before it is injected in reservoir
Mechanisms That Improve Recovery Efficiency
 Mobility control (improves volumetric sweep efficiency)
Limitations
 High oil viscosities require higher polymer concentration
 Results normally better if polymer flood started before water-oil ratio becomes
excessively high
 Clays increase polymer adsorption
 Some heterogeneity is acceptable, but avoid extensive fractures
 If fractures are present, crosslinked or gelled polymer techniques may be applicable
Polymer Flooding

Challenges
Lower injectivity than with water can adversely
affect oil production rates in early stages of
polymer flood
Acrylamide-type polymers loose viscosity due to
sheer degradation, or it increases in salinity &
divalent ions
Xanthan gum polymers cost more, are subject to
microbial degradation, & have greater potential for
wellbore plugging
Polymer Flooding

Screening Parameters
Gravity > 18° API
Viscosity < 200 cp
Composition not critical
Oil saturation > 10% PV mobile oil
Formation type sandstone / carbonate
Net thickness not critical
Average permeability > 20 md
Transmissibility not critical
Depth < 9,000 feet
Temperature <  225 ° F
Miscible Gas Flooding (CO2 Injection)

CO2 Injection Water Separation and Production Well


Injection Well Injection Storage Facilities
From Pump
Pipeline
or Recycle

4 3 2 1

1 Waterflood Sor 2 Oil 3 CO2 and Water 4 Drive


Bank/Miscible Zone Water
Front
Miscible Gas Flooding (CO2 Injection)

Description

Consists of injecting large quantities of CO2 (15%


or more hydrocarbon pore volumes) in reservoir to
form a miscible flood

Mechanisms That Improve Recovery Efficiency

CO2 extracts the light-to-intermediate components


from the oil, and, if pressure is high enough,
develops miscibility to displace oil from reservoir
(vaporizing gas drive)
Viscosity reduction / oil swelling
Miscible Gas Flooding (CO2 Injection)

Limitations
Very low viscosity of CO2 results in poor mobility
control
Availability of CO2
Challenges
Early breakthrough of CO2 causes problems
Corrosion in producing wells
Necessity of separating CO2 from saleable
hydrocarbons
Repressuring CO2 for recycling
Large requirement of CO2 per incremental barrel
produced
Miscible Gas Flooding (CO2 Injection)

Screening Parameters
Gravity > 27° API
Viscosity < 10 cp
Composition C5 - C20 (C5 - C12)
Oil saturation > 30% PV
Formation type sandstone / carbonate
Net thickness relatively thin
Average permeability not critical
Transmissibility not critical
Depth > 2,300 feet
Temperature < 250° F
Miscible Gas Flooding
(Hydrocarbon Injection)
HC Gas Injection Water Separation and Production Well
Injection Well Injection Storage Facilities
From Pump
Pipeline
or Recycle

4 3 2 1

2 Oil Bank / 3 HC and Water 4 Drive


1 Waterflood Sor Water
Miscible Front Zone
Miscible Gas Flooding
(Hydrocarbon Injection)

Description
Consists of injecting light hydrocarbons through
reservoir to form a miscible flood

Mechanisms That Improve Recovery Efficiency


Viscosity reduction / oil swelling / condensing or
vaporizing gas drive
Miscible Gas Flooding
(Hydrocarbon Injection)
Limitations
Minimum depth is set by pressure needed to maintain
generated miscibility
Ranges from about 1,200 psi for LPG process to 3,000-
5,000 psi for High Pressure Gas Drive, depending on the oil
Steeply dipping formation is very desirable - permits
gravity stabilization of displacement that normally has an
unfavorable mobility ratio
Challenges
Viscous fingering results in poor vertical & horizontal
sweep efficiency
Large quantities of expensive products required
Solvent may be trapped & not recovered
Miscible Gas Flooding
(Hydrocarbon Injection)
Screening Parameters
Gravity > 27° API
Viscosity < 10 cp
Composition C2 - C 7
Oil saturation > 30% PV
Formation type sandstone / carbonate
Net thickness relatively thin
Average permeability not critical
Transmissibility not critical
Depth > 2,000 feet (LPG)
> 5,000 feet (lean gas)
Temperature > 250°F
Nitrogen / Flue Gas Flooding
N2 Gas Injection Water Separation and Production Well
Well Injection Storage Facilities
Injection Pump
From
Pipeline
or Plant

4 3 2 1

1 Oil Bank/ N2 and


Waterflood Sor 2 3 4 Drive Water
Miscible Front Water Zone
Nitrogen / Flue Gas Flooding

Description
Consists of injecting large quantities of gas that may
be miscible or immiscible depending on pressure & oil
composition
Large volumes may be injected because of low cost
Nitrogen or flue gas are also considered for use as
chase gases in hydrocarbon-miscible & CO 2 floods
Mechanisms That Improve Recovery Efficiency
Vaporizes lighter components of crude oil & generates
miscibility if pressure is high enough
Provides gas drive where significant portion of
reservoir volume is filled with low-cost gases
Nitrogen / Flue Gas Flooding

Limitations
Miscibility can only be achieved with light oils at high
pressures; therefore, deep reservoirs are needed
Steeply dipping reservoir is desired to permit gravity
stabilization of displacement, which has a very
unfavorable mobility ratio
Challenges
Viscous fingering results in poor vertical & horizontal
sweep efficiency
Flue gas injection can cause corrosion

Non-hydrocarbon gases must be separated from


saleable gas
Nitrogen / Flue Gas Flooding

Screening Parameters
Gravity > 24° API (> 35 for nitrogen)
Viscosity < 10 cp
Composition C1 - C 7
Oil saturation > 30% PV
Formation type sandstone / carbonate
Net thickness relatively thin (not critical for
pressure maintenance)
Average permeability not critical
Transmissibility not critical
Depth > 4,500 feet
Temperature not critical
Thermal (Steamflooding)
Stack Gas Steam Injection Separation and Production Well
Scrubber Generator Well Storage Facilities

4 3 2 1

Oil and Water Zone Heated Oil Hot Water Steam and
1 2 3 4
Near Original Reservoir Zone Zone Condensed
Temperature Water Zone
Thermal (Steamflooding)
Description
Consists of injecting ± 80% quality steam to displace oil

Normal practice is to precede & accompany steam


drive by cyclic steam stimulation of producing wells
(called huff and puff)

Mechanisms That Improve Recovery Efficiency


Viscosity reduction / steam distillation

Supplies pressure to drive oil to producing well

Challenges
Adverse mobility ratio & channeling of steam
Thermal (Steamflooding)
Limitations
Applicable to viscous oils in massive, high permeability sandstones or
unconsolidated sands
Oil saturations must be high & pay zones should be > 20 ft thick to
minimize heat losses to adjacent formations
Less viscous crude oils can be steamflooded if they don’t respond to
water
Steamflooded reservoirs should be as shallow as possible because of
excessive wellbore heat losses
Not normally done in carbonate reservoirs
Since about 1/3 of additional oil recovered is consumed to generate
required steam, cost per incremental barrel of oil is high
Low percentage of water-sensitive clays is desired for good injectivity
Thermal (Steamflooding)

Screening Parameters
Gravity < 35° API (10-35° API)
Viscosity > 20 cp (100-5,000 cp)
Composition not critical
Remaining oil > 500 bbl / acre-ft (> 40-
50% PV)
Formation type sandstone
Net thickness > 20 feet
Average permeability > 200 md
Transmissibility > 100 md ft / cp
Depth > 200-5,000 feet
Temperature not critical
Depth Limitation for Enhanced
Oil Recovery Methods
Depth (ft)
EOR Method 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000
Hydrocarbon-
Deep Enough for Required Pressure
Miscible

Nitrogen and
Deep Enough for Required Pressure
Flue Gas

CO2 Flooding Deep Enough for Required Pressure

Surfactant/
Limited by Temperature
Polymer

Polymer Limited by Temperature

Alkaline Preferred Zone High


Consumption

Fire Flood Deep Enough for Required Pressure

Steam Drive Normal Range (Possible)


RREW-4-2-EORMethodsVG1-33
Preferred Oil Viscosity Ranges for
Enhanced Oil Recovery Methods
Oil Viscosity - Centipoise at Reservoir Conditions
EOR Method 0.1 1.0 10 100 1000 1,000 100,000 1,000,000
Hydrocarbon-
Very Good Good More Difficult
Miscible
Nitrogen and
Good More Difficult
Flue Gas
Very Good
CO2 Flooding More Difficult
Good
Surfactant/ Very
Good Fair Difficult
Not Feasible
Polymer

Polymer Good Fair Difficult Not Feasible

Alkaline Good Fair Very Not Feasible


Difficult

Fire Flood May Not Be Possible Good Not Feasible

Steam Drive (Can Be Waterflooded) Good

Special Thermal:
Shafts, Fractures, Various Techniques Possible
Drainholes, etc.
Mining and Not No Established Limits
Extraction Feasible
RREW-4-2-EORMethodsVG1-34
Permeability Guides for
Enhanced Oil Recovery Methods
Permeability (millidarcy)
EOR Method 0.1 10 100 1000 10,000
Hydrocarbon- - Not Critical if
Miscible Uniform
Nitrogen and - Not Critical if
Flue Gas Uniform

CO2 Flooding - High Enough For Good Injection Rates -

Surfactant/
Preferred Zone
Polymer

Polymer Possible Preferred Zone

Alkaline Preferred Zone

Fire Flood Preferred Zone

Steam Drive Preferred Zone


RREW-4-2-EORMethodsVG1-35
Summary of Screening Criteria for
EOR Methods
Oil Properties Reservoir Characteristics

E R
Gas Injection Methods

S T
O
Chemical Flooding

P
Thermal

N.C. = Not Critical


*Transmissibility >20 md ft/cp
**Transmissibility > 100 md ft/cp
Applications of Light Oil Steam Flooding
(LOSF) to Waterflooded Reservoirs
Relatively new variation on more traditional heavy
oil steam flooding EOR technique
Mechanisms in LOSF similar to traditional
steamflooding:
- Viscosity reduction – For given temperature rise,
the viscosity decrease for more viscous heavy oil
is much more significant than in lighter oils
- Swelling – The thermal expansion of light oils is
greater than that for heavy oils
- Stripping of light ends – Since more lighter
components are present in the light oils, potential
benefits from development of condensate zones is
more significant in light oils than in heavy oils
Applications of Light Oil Steam Flooding
to Waterflooded Reservoirs

Effect of oil gravity on


viscosity reduction
with temperature
Applications of Light Oil Steam Flooding
to Waterflooded Reservoirs

Swelling effect is shown where


heavier oil (60 lb/cu.ft) has
significantly less swelling
potential than a lighter oil (55
lb/cu.ft)
Applications of Light Oil Steam Flooding
to Waterflooded Reservoirs
Distillation (or stripping of light ends) is more
pronounced in lighter oils than in heavier
This makes creation of a condensate volume with
solvent properties much more likely in lighter oils
Applications of Light Oil Steam Flooding
to Waterflooded Reservoirs
Waterflooding in light oil reservoirs generally
produces good recovery efficiency
- Pockets of oil bypassed because of oil trapping in lower
permeability regions through capillary mechanisms
Water is immiscible with oil & will cause a significant
residual oil saturation (25-35%) even in the water
swept parts of reservoir
LOSF can reduce residual oil saturation in
waterflood swept portions since steam acts more like
a gas & leaves more of a residual oil saturation to gas
rather than to water
- This gas (steam) residual can be significantly lower than
for water
Applications of Light Oil Steam Flooding
to Waterflooded Reservoirs
LOSF has second potential benefit from the generation of
a condensate/solvent zone
- This condensate/solvent can have miscible
characteristics which allow it to extract residual oil
from low porosity / low permeability regions of
reservoir which were bypassed by water injection
Offsetting the LOSF benefits
- Concerns for initiating a relative high cost thermal
process in a reservoir where waterflooding has
reduced the remaining oil-in-place & left a high water
saturation which can be an additional heat loss issue
Careful attention must be paid to economic
considerations and understanding the risks for LOSF in a
reservoir